RM2.7 mil spent on bringing Sabah students home, says state minister

Sabah Education Minister Yusof Yacob talking to a student who flew in to Kota Kinabalu today.

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government has spent RM2.7 million to cover the cost of bringing Sabah students home from Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak.

Sabah Education Minister Yusof Yacob said the cost borne by the federal government is not known.

“There are 5,547 students in Peninsular Malaysia and 1,997 in Sarawak who have still to be brought home,” said the Sindumin assemblyman.

Yusof, who was at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport to observe the arrival of Sabah students, said the four flights today and another couple more flights arriving tomorrow would be the last flights before the Aidilfitri festivities.

A total of 1,027 students returned today and another 906 will arrive tomorrow.

He said the flights would resume on May 27 and that all the remaining students would be brought home the latest by June 5.

Overall, 11,653 students from Sabah stranded in Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak were on campus when the movement control order was enforced to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

Yusof said he had taken note of grouses from parents about the long delay in their children’s return.

Noting that all students allowed home had undergone the test for Covid-19 and their results had turned out to be negative, he said: “There were questions of safety and health procedures that we needed to abide by. This delayed the process of the students returning home.

“We hope parents can be patient with us. Even the chief minister (Shafie Apdal) wants the students to be able to be home before the Hari Raya and Kaamatan Festival but there is nothing we can do to expedite this process for safety’s sake,” said Yusof.

He said students who returned home need not check into quarantine centres. They can go home straight to undergo the 14-day isolation process.

He hoped parents would assist in ensuring their children went through this process properly.

“This means the students cannot go out to interact or meet friends once they are under their home quarantine.”

The federal government had been allowing students to return home in phases from April 27.

This involved 23 flights from Kuala Lumpur and nine flights from Sarawak.

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